China Is Ready for Lean Projects, like the Rest of the World

Via Scoop.itlean manufacturing

This article asserts the opposite. According to it, “Lean principles are based on Western ideas and methods.” I never thought Japan was part of the West. And Lean is supposed to be incompatible with “the teachings of Confucius,” that are at least as influential in Japan as in China. According to the author, China has been confucianist for 3,000 years, which puts it at 1,000 BCE. It is interesting, considering that Confucius wasn’t born for another 500 years. It is like making Steve Jobs a contemporary of da Vinci.

It might have occurred to the author that there might be more immediate reasons for her problems implementing Lean in the Pearl River Delta. For one, a labor structure that is similar to that of the maquiladoras of the US-Mexico border: girls from the hinterland coming to work in factories for a year or two. For another, in management, the lingering influence of Maoism.

All the factories in the world draw their work forces from societies with their own cultural idiosyncrasies. This is equally true in the US, France, Russia, or China. However, once on the shop floor, dealing with machines and production lines, the national culture is little more than background noise. You have to pay attention to the local etiquette, but that is not a show stopper.